Police searches in schools

At a recent meeting of the Linden Foundation Secondary School’s Parent-Teacher Association, it was proposed that students should be subjected to searches by police officers prior to entering the compound, as a measure to stem violence in the school. We asked the man/woman-in-the-street, their thoughts on the proposal. Here were their responses:

Alicia Freeman

Alicia Freeman – ‘There is a rise in violence in schools, so yes, they should be searched. This is something that they [students] brought on themselves and parents, to a great extent. So if that is the measure that the schools and the authorities have to take, then I am in full support of it. Parents need to come to grips with disciplining their children and instilling them with morals and values, so that these things that are happening in our schools and communities would be significantly reduced. So, if violence is prevalent in schools and that’s the measure that has to be put in place to deal with it, then so let it be.’

Gary Elliot –
‘I think it is a positive by the administration if they decide to go in this direction because of the escalating violence in schools. This is not to dishonour the children as such, but it would be a move in the right direction. Police would be the better ones to do this but we are aware that the police force is somewhat depleted and we would need to utilise their expertise in a more resourceful way. We have several professional security agencies that work along with schools and they might be the next best option.’

Gary Elliot

Judy Gravesande-Noel – ‘As a mother, I would not support the idea of putting police at schools to search children. What I strongly think should be done is placing counsellors at schools for these delinquent children and those who might have suffered from a violent encounter. Most children guilty of being violent would have come from very poor circumstances, single parent homes, and uncaring communities. Having police at the school can do more harm than the intended good. Tackling the problem from the root would necessitate the creation of employment opportunities for parents, among several other things. But not police at schools.’

Sharma Solomon – ‘I think it is absolutely necessary, based on the times that we’re living in, to exercise caution in all regards as it relates to seeing what is the situation in the schools and meeting the needs by, if necessary, conducting and providing security. We are living in a time that is not what it was before, so we need to adjust based on the situation that we are presented with. I don’t see a problem with security measures in schools. I think it’s a welcomed position that the schools should encourage, if not just for the

Judy Gravesande-Noel

teachers’ but the students’ security too.

Cindy Saigon – ‘In this day and age, I would say ‘yes,’ because children are becoming what they see on television. [It] is portrayed especially in those gangster movies that it is okay to take certain weapons to school. The sad thing is that crime is increasing among our school-aged children, especially teenagers and in the schools. I say ‘yes’ because we would have to protect our children at all costs. It might not be the way we would want our young, innocent children to be exposed, by being screened for weapons, but the reality is that we have to face up to what is going on [and] we have to let them know that this is what the world is coming to and just for the sake of their safety, this type of action is necessary.’

Sharma Solomon

Royston Noble – ‘I think that system should be implemented because of the violence that is going on. If we should look at other countries that are more advanced, when their crime situations have escalated beyond a point that they couldn’t control, they would implement systems like those. So that system should be implemented and be enforced strongly in the schools where there is violence.’

Deborah Cumberbatch –
‘I think that they should. It’s a sad situation to know that children should be going through this form of screening, but the reality is that violence is prevalent in our schools and in order to protect our children even from themselves, I think that we should agree to have them go through security checks to prevent the violent incidents in our schools from escalating. I would also agree that the police officers should be the ones doing the searches, if they are the ones trained and equipped to do this kind of screening. Otherwise, we should look at having others trained to do this type of thing.’

Cindy Saigon

Petal Yaw – ‘It is a fact that today that we have a lot of students, especially in the secondary schools, going equipped with all sorts of instruments with the intent of using them as weapons against their peers and, sadly, teachers. We as parents are very concerned because it’s the lives of our children that are in danger and by extension persons close to us. Security searches should be conducted before entering the school. We do care about their privacy but in their school bags [they] should only have school materials and on their persons should only be their clothes.’

Ryan Lewis – ‘At the onset, a number parents and children would hate and ridicule such a system, but it is what I would call ‘tough love.’ If indeed there is rising… violence in schools, a system like that is absolutely necessary. Left alone, that system wouldn’t solve the problem completely but it is one of several things that have to be done to tackle the situation. Our children are

Royston Noble

falling prey to the bad influence of television and the immeasurable amount of violent movies. Even the cartoons designed for children are pure violence. Let the authorities go right ahead and put that system in place immediately. It is absolutely necessary.’

Shamar Boston – ‘It is not a bad idea to have security checks for the kids, because in the long-run it’s going to [mean] safety for everybody. We have so many kids coming to school with all sorts of issues—mental issues, domestic issues and sometimes there is some issues with their peers in the school—and they see responding with violence as the solution, so they come armed. Putting these security measures in place would be a wise thing to do, so I strongly support it.’

Leah Sills – ‘In the light of what is happening in the schools, I don’t think that is a far-fetched idea. It is necessary for the safety of the children and for the sanity of the teachers and the progression of

Deborah Cumberbatch

education. I think it would have to come to that.’

Leah Sills
Shamar Boston
Ryan Lewis
Petal Yaw

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